WVU’s Koenning apologizes
MORGANTOWN (AP) — Suspended West Virginia defensive coordinator Vic Koenning apologized Wednesday after a player alleged he made a series of insensitive remarks, including against Hispanics.
Koenning was placed on administrative leave Tuesday after safety Kerry Martin posted the allegations on his Twitter account about Koenning.
“I never intended anything I said or did to offend or be insensitive,” Koenning said in a statement on Twitter Wednesday.
“But KJ’s Tweet reminded me that sometimes intent is not always clearly communicated.”
Martin said the latest example of offensive comments by Koenning happened Monday, when the defensive coordinator shared a conversation he had with his son about protests over racial injustice.
Martin, who is Black, said Koenning’s “exact words were, ‘if people did not want to get tear gassed, or push back by the police then they shouldn’t be outside protesting.'”
Martin also said Koenning called him “retarded” during a 2019 workout, has discussed religion and the Bible with players who had different beliefs, and has given his views on politics, including how President Donald Trump “should ‘build the wall and keep Hispanics out (of) the country.'”
Koenning apologized to Martin and the school community in his statement.
“I’m still learning every day and this is an opportunity for me to listen, learn and improve,” he said. “Of course I stand against racism and social injustice of any kind. I hope my players know that already, but I proudly say it now. There is no place for that any time, anywhere or any place.”
Koenning, who was brought to West Virginia from Troy when coach Neal Brown was hired last year, said he is cooperating with the athletic department’s inquiry into his behavior.
Brown said in a statement released by the school Tuesday night that he was “sick about today’s events” and that Martin had every right to express his opinion.
Brown said he talked with all parties involved, including the defense as a unit and the entire team.
“I again emphasized to our team that our program culture will be one of acceptance, respect, tolerance, and positive relationships,” Brown said. “We will listen, learn and grow from this together, as a family, to become even more united.”
Martin said he “didn’t want to bring negativity to the program but with everything going on and for him to still act this way and feel okay with saying what he said is not okay, Enough is enough.
“No, coach Vic is not a bad person and he does mean well in many (different) aspects but his heinous actions towards us overrules the good things he has done and many of us are uncomfortable with being around him.”